Episode 80: Mark Hopwood discusses love and moral value

This month, we discuss love and moral value with Mark Hopwood, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Sewanee: The University of the South, and former co-host of this podcast! Click here to listen to our conversation.

hopwoodIn discussing rights, religion, politics, and much more, we ask: Who has moral value? Who are we obliged to accommodate, support, even love?

Philosophers throughout the ages have answered these questions with principles. Perhaps, some have suggested, people have moral value because they share culture. But should we value people less if they don’t share our culture? Or perhaps, others have suggested, people have moral value because they are rational. But should we only value people who share our ability to act rationally? Then what of people, say, born with cognitive limitations? We could continue hypothesizing, but it seems that any principle must rule some people out.

Perhaps, then, some moral value doesn’t rest on principles. Rather, our guest suggests, some moral value flows from people’s particulars — their unique, irreplaceable individuality. After all, people’s most profound love for each other often flows thus. We may more readily love someone because they share our culture or are (somewhat) rational, but many others fit those features. Yet we particularly love particular people.

(This, we might note, might be the beauty of Christians’ God: a God who is love, but not based on a principle that limits it. Rather God is love for each particular person — and at the same time every particular person.)

Join us as our Mark Hopwood suggests more relationships between loves and moral values.

Dominic Surya






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